Help - can any experienced VLM runners give me some advice?

Hi all,

stupidly I've managed to get a charity place, seemed like a good idea at the time!!!!

OK so deep down I'm excited but it's going to be a long, hard five months...

My immediate concern is where to stay, I guess the hotels get booked up quickly, also how do you get to the start line, presumably the tube???  Which is the nearest station?

Any advice much appreciated... probably lots more questions to follow!


If there's already a thread for this can someone point me towards it please?


Cheers, NBFS



  • You will need a hotel somewhere near London. The tubes and trains info all come in your race pack nearer the time so don't worry about that. So try to get a hotel booked in or around London. OK?
  • How far do you have to travel to get to London?

  • I'm in Preston so a long way to London. 


    So pretty much anywhere in London is OK?  I guess it's mad busy in the city that day??



  • All the starts are accessible from mainline stations rather than the tube. If you have a charity place you will be on the red start, the station for which is Maze Hill.

    How you get there, of course, depends on where you're staying.

    But yes, lots of foolproof info in the race pack - you will also need to collect your running number from the VLM expo (which is at the Excel Centre in docklands) in the days before  - so bear that in mind.


  • when i ran it we managed to get in a travel lodge without booking (the hotel we booked was a dump so risked staying somewhere else). we had to get the tube to the start with  change, but that didnt bother me really, if anything it allowed my breakfast to go down! 

    with regard to the expo, if your only staying one night, id reccomend getting your running number sorted and having a good look around the excel centre on your way from preston to your hotel. this takes a massive pressure off you, and once to get to the hotel you can relax and take it easy. Make sure you go to the lucazade stand, im not sure if they still do it, but they gave me loads of freebies, and they had pacing bands for every finishing time. I havnt seen them for free since I ran London!

  • the starts are accessible from the tube too, greenwich or cutty sark on the DLR line

    your tube travel should be free on the day.

    If you are staying the night after as well, then i'd recommend booking a hotel nearer the finish than nearer the start so you have a quick trip back to it after all that effort!they will be expensive though.

    If you are only staying the night before then book somewhere on the outer edges of the tube system, it'll be cheaper!

    once you decide, book it asap for peace of mind!

  • Thanks All,


    some great advice, I'm hoping to stay 2 nights as I'm unlikely to be able to walk the day after the race. 

    Think I'd beter get off for a plod now... image

  • Try the link below (it's the final instructions for the 2010 race so train times will differ slightly, but pretty much everything else is the same every year). As SLR mentioned above, this is what you will be sent in your final race pack shortly before the event, and as Screampillar has advised, you will be starting from the Red start.

    Good luck and have a great day.


  • I like to stay in the centre - easy to get to the start from Charing Cross.  And then when you've finished - its only 10 mins to the hotel.

    You can't really go wrong on the day - lots of runners around to ask or follow. 

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    We managed to stay in the eastern part of london and it was easy to get in and out of for the morning of the race.

    I'd also check the area around your hotel. We expected ours to be quiet but it was on the mainroad of a nightclub so we didnt get a lot of sleep!

  • Sleep the night before is overrated. Its the Friday night that matters most - so make sure thats good !

  • for getting to the start - would avoid any areas where you can only easily get on the district line (eg earls court) - had a nightmare waiting on the sunday last time. circle line is fine though......

  • I have used this company a couple of times, arrange the hotel and get you to the start


  • If you have the money I would always recommend staying in victoria somewhere - bus 185 to Lewisham for the start (although you do hve to pay £1.35 for it only the tube or dlr is free) and about 10-15mins walk from the finish!

    I think the premier inn is around £100 a night, or there are nice B & B's that are in the £120 a night bracket. There are a few cheaper hotels that way but they are mostly nasty so I would avoid EasyHotel etc.

    Other great place to stay is piccadilly - about 5 minutes walk from the finish but thats mega pricey!

    Battersea and the like are cheaper but you'll need to get back there afterwards...

  • It's our capital city though JF ? Public transport is brilliant. There's no need to pay for someone to organise you ?  I can see the benefit in far off exotic cities - but London is a doddle. 

  • cougie wrote (see)

    It's our capital city though JF ? Public transport is brilliant. There's no need to pay for someone to organise you ?  I can see the benefit in far off exotic cities - but London is a doddle. 

    It's not compulsory Cougie.  They also help your family to get araound so I think offer a good service, means if you are running that is the only thing you have to worry about

  • some great advice already, one thing i would advice if ur booking a hotel, find one with a bath, there is nothing like a good long soak after you have done your marathon, it was a godsend to me with any marathons I have done ( i have to say i was lucky for London as I've got a few friends who live there, i stayed with  my friend in cambden town and used the tube )  

    it was easy to get to Greenwich, if could do it anyone can as i'm the worlds worse with directions and finding my way around places, also there were so many runners i just followed the runners

    defintely get to expo the day before and allow yourself plenty of time to have a good nose around, lots to see and do there, but get there early as when i got there all the pacing bands had gone which was a shame

    i'm tempted to go myself next year just to buy a vlm 12 t.shirt which they will be selling off at a reduced rate like they sold the vlm 11 t.shirts off this year

  • as above the tube is normally spot on just make sure you factor in stairs afterwards in case you try to set yourself a place and time to meet with family. depending on how well you race goes you might be walking like Douglas barder for a bit.  

  • Think about spectators too...years ago, anyone could go to the start area, now it is strictly runners only, so if you choose a hotel near the course you can get to the start (you'll need to be up early) while your family has breakfast and gets a good spot to watch from, and you'll know where they are.
  • LaudyLaudy ✭✭✭

    We stay in Bermondsey in apts, get the train from Tower Bridge to the start (have run off both red and blue)  and that has always worked fine  and the cost is reasonable for what you get and there is parking!  Trains are very BUSY so factor that in.  And if your only planning on getting to London on the saturday make sure you leave plenty of time to get to Expo to get your number as I believe it closes earlier on the saturday than the previous 3 days.  Good luck NBFS as a first timer its an epic day, soak it all up and make sure you have preplanned exactly where your friends and family will be so you don't miss them.  Good luck with the fundraising too! 

  • Thanks everyone for all of the advice - particularly the idea of making sure there's a bath in the room - I remember when I did Berlin a few years back, I think I spent about 2 hours in the bath afterwards, not sure I'd have survived without it...


    Seriously though massive appreciation for the advice - exactly what I was looking for.


  • Good luck getting out of the bath !image

  • Oh laudy just mentioned the expo and reminded me. Been a few years since did london but they normally have some freebie's there some good some cr*p. If you can I would make sure you get to it in the morning while there are still stocks left. One year got some free london pride from it and beer is good. image

  • I did London for the first time last year. I stayed by Canary Wharf. Ideal for the expo and getting to the start, both with the DLR. Plus the race goes right past,  so family can stay in hotel and pop down to see you. You can arrange an exact point as the barriers and mile markers go up the night before. The family can then jump the tube (jubilee line) towards the finish for a meet up. Tube back to hotel afterwards. Lots of stairs on the way back on the tube however.

  • Thanks Guys...

    Canary Wharf sounds like a good shout

    beer is indeed good, and to be fair London Pride is pretty good beer...

    However, stairs are bad! image

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